As part of our comparative study tours, we had the opportunity to visit the Assemblée nationale du Québec in Quebec City. The visit to Quebec City was graciously planned by our counterparts in Quebec, the Programme de stages – Fondation Jean-Charles-Bonenfant, with a jam-packed but exciting schedule of meetings for us. We got to learn about the operation of the Assemblée nationale on a deeper level by having meetings with individuals beyond politicians.
One such individual was M. Bonsaint , the Secrétaire general, a role similar to the Clerk of the Assembly in Ontario. M. Bonsaint went over some of the exciting renovations that will be occurring to create a new visitors centre and security checkpoint at the Assemblée nationale. Our visit also included a tour of the Assemblée nationale where got to see and learn about the historic building. It was fascinating how the décor of the building reflects both the French and British heritage of the province.
We also had the chance to meet some members of the media in the Assemblée nationale, Caroline Plante and Ryan Hicks. Caroline Plante is Quebec City Bureau Chief for the Montreal Gazette and Ryan Hicks is CBC’s Quebec National Assembly correspondent. Both journalists have extensive experience across Canada and provided great insight into life at the Assemblée nationale.
A highlight of the visit to Quebec City was the chance to watch Question Period. Recently, the Assemblée nationale banned clapping during Question Period so we saw how it created a different dynamic in the Chamber. While viewing Question Period we coincidentally ended up in the middle of a protest in the public gallery; complete with paper airplanes, shouting and all participants being escorted out by security. Some of our stunned faces even made it in the background of a few media broadcasts!
The chance to learn about the Assemblée nationale behind-the-scenes made for a fantastic visit. The Quebec interns were incredible hosts and we are looking forward to having them visit Toronto and Queen’s Park in the spring!